Ultimate Summer Shutdown Checklist!!!
It may not feel like Spring yet it many parts of the US, but warm weather is coming soon! Warm sunshine, blossoms popping, and rabbits everywhere... Spring is not far away. For many of us that also means it is time to shut down our Outdoor Boilers. Fortunately, this is a very easy process that can be done in a very short amount of time - so please save this email newsletter so that you don't forget these important steps:
1.) First, watch this video HERE for a quick refresher of the "Summer ShutDown" process. Here is the link to copy and paste if needed:
Watch Mindy Explain "Summer Shut Down"!
2.) Be sure to follow all safety warnings! (Don't you just hate it when you open an owners manual for instructions and have to read five pages of safety warnings before you actually get to the REAL INSTRUCTIONS?! We hate that too, but we honestly don't want anyone to get hurt. Lawsuits? Well, our customers are very smart when it comes to safety. Just please remember to be safe!)
3.) Put in TWO Creosote Remover Sticks in the firebox THREE DAYS before shutting down your furnace. Creosote Remover Sticks are SUPER EASY because they require no measuring and will simply dry up harmful creosote in your boiler. Click HERE for more information and to order online.
4.) Allow the fire to completely burn down. You may wish to preserve your dry coals for Fall Startup. The reason many people do this is because if you start your furnace in the fall with a load of dry coals (instead of firewood), you will have far less condensation/moisture/creosote in your furnace. Remember that even well-seasoned wood contains at least 20% moisture and that will always complicate starting up a cold furnace, especially a GX model.
To save your dry coals, load your furnace with a large load of wood, and allow it to burn the moisture out of the wood - this will require several hours depending upon how fast you are using the heat. Then simply shut off the fan switch and smother the fire for a few days to completely stop all burning. Then remove those coals and place them on dry ground, or in a metal container until the final steps below are completed.
5.) Remove all the ashes and lightly scrape the firebox. Be sure that all ashes are removed. Dry ashes are harmless, but if left in your outdoor boiler over the summer, these dry ashes will absorb moisture and create an acidic paste that will eat through your steel firebox.
6.) Clean the water filter. If you do not have a water filter, click HERE to read the article "Why Should I Have A Filter For My Outdoor Boiler?"
7.) Is your boiler due for its periodic COMPLETE WATER FLUSH? If you have not FLUSHED your boiler water in the last four years, you must do this now. Other circumstances also require a complete flush, such as using unauthorized treatment chemicals in your boiler - click on this link HERE to read "When Should I FLUSH My Outdoor Boiler?". This is a serious requirement and must be followed to ensure the longest life expectancy of your boiler.
8.) Add the required amount of Liquid Armor water treatment. You have made a big investment in your outdoor boiler, and if you don't properly treat your furnace water, it is similar to driving a car without oil. It will only be a matter of time and your furnace will be destroyed from corrosion. Click HERE for more information on water treatment.
9.) Send a water sample to the Outdoor Boiler Lab for your FREE water test so you can have confidence knowing that your investment is protected! Instructions for submitting a water sample to the Outdoor Boiler Lab Lab are found HERE.
10.) Make sure to REMOVE the chimney cap and clean out the chimney! This is very important and often overlooked - remove the chimney cap, clean the inside of the chimney with a wire brush, then vacuum out the entire area with a shop vac. Some customers report that the chimney is difficult to remove - that is to be expected if you fail to complete this important step every year.
Also, clean the deflector plate using the D-Plate Brush. Push the wooden handle down the chimney from above and push it towards the front until it stops. Then open the front door, reach up and grab the handle and pull the D-Plate brush through. Do this several times. Click HERE for more info on the D-Plate Brush.
Then, from the front of the furnace, pull the pull rod to its stop, then turn it clockwise until you can pull it past the stop. Pull it towards you all the way until it scrapes off the entire deflector plate. For more info on Pull Rod Best Practices, click HERE.
11.) Door Seal - Has your door seal been replaced in the last 2-4 years? If not, replace the door seal as needed. Click HERE to read our article "Problems Caused By A Leaky Door Seal."
12.) Turn power off at breaker/power source - Or to protect and prolong the life of your pump, leave the power on and allow the pump to circulate. Your choice. If you do this, turn off the blower fan and unscrew the light bulb.Click HERE to read our article "Should I Keep My Pump ON All Summer?"
13.) Check Owner's Manual for full details. Click HERE to view your Owner's Manual.
Thoroughly cleaning your outdoor wood furnace will ensure added years of reliable service and comfortable heating. Some furnace owners like to oil their firebox as added protection for the summer months. If you don't plan to shut down your furnace through the summer as a way of heating a pool or your hot water, it is still necessary to perform this annual maintenance.
Note that if you operate your furnace during the summer months for any reason, please be sure to follow the instructions found in the newsletter entitled "Why You Should NEVER “Top OFF” Your Outdoor Wood Furnace" found at this link HERE:
Why You Should NEVER "Top Off" Your Outdoor Wood Furnace
TIP: I like to fill the cleaned firebox with dry coals and a small amount of seasoned wood in preparation for the upcoming heating season. I stack my coals, kindling, tinder and wood in place, shut the door and start a 1-match fire in the fall.